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Austin Pets Alive! | Frankie’s Journey: Fleas to Fierce


Nov 20, 2021

It was a day like any other when a woman came into a local pet supply store and started talking to the staff.

She was crippled with worry about a little kitten in her neighborhood that was the last one left from a litter of outdoor cats. You see, this kitten wasn’t like the others. He was severely malnourished and paralyzed in his lower half, unable to control his bladder and bowels, and left to fend for himself.

The staff member went home to her girlfriend Cara, an avid animal rescuer, and told her the situation. They knew they needed to help because this life couldn’t help itself. So off they went to scoop up a little kitten they named Frankie. Cara wrote on the first day, “He can still move his legs but they are disfigured – we are hoping just from malnutrition and that they can be fixed. He had more fleas than I’ve ever seen on a kitten from all my years of animal rescue.”

When Frankie was examined, it was inconclusive as to what was causing his paralysis. What we do know is that Frankie was not born this way. His prior owner said, “One day he just seized up and never walked again.” Cara focused her energy on making Frankie stronger by making sure he was getting the nourishment and medicine he needed, fitting him for diapers for his incontinence, clearing him of his fleas, and building him a PVC cart so he can gain strength in his limbs. “He may never walk again but it won’t stop him from living a long, happy, healthy life with the right family.”

Cara got in contact with the Austin Pets Alive! P.A.S.S. (Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender) program to figure out how she could help without surrendering Frankie to a shelter. APA! gave her the tools she needed to care for him as she fostered him until adoption.

Frankie fit right in with Cara’s clan, particularly loving cuddling up to her foster sibling dogs.

Three weeks ago Cara wrote, “The perfect home for Frankie is out there, and what a lucky family they’ll be. We just have to find them,” and that she did. After 62 days, we’re thrilled to report he’s found the family to love him unconditionally, differently-abled legs and all.

When animals are paralyzed, they often are incontinent. Historically, incontinent cats were euthanized immediately at the shelter with the belief that no one would want them. We’ve proved time and time again that’s not true. “APA! has adopted out 13 incontinent kitties so far this year. Many of these cats went to first-time incontinent cat adopters”, says Allie Wassel, our Cat Matchmaker Team Lead. “Thanks to dedication from our fosters, marketing, and clinic team, we are continuing to educate the public about how manageable and adoptable these cats are!”

Your gift this Giving Tuesday helps save lives like Frankie’s. With all gifts doubled, up to $100k, until December 31st, you can have double the impact on pets like Frankie. At seven weeks old he was left alone, immobile, and diminishing day by day. But together with you, and advocates like Cara, these pets get the chance to find their people, who will love them unconditionally. Give the gift of hope this holiday season and donate today.



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